Wednesday, 5 November 2014

Injunctions in UK Pharma Cases


These points are from a talk given by Beatriz San Martin at fieldfisher’s Pharma Patents Seminar on 16 October 2014.

1. There are 4 types of injunction: pre-action (very rare in the UK), interim, final and cross-border.

2. The Enforcement Directive 2004/48/EC made interim and final injunctions available across Europe. They are discretionary and subject to national law, and are not harmonised.

3. Cross-border injunctions are only available if validity is not challenged (GAT v Luk [2006]). Though Solvay v Honeywell [2012] decided interim injunctions were available even if validity was challenged. See Bird & Bird’s comments on GAT v Honeywell here and comments on Solvay v Honeywell from CMS here.

4. In the UK an injunction is a discretionary remedy where no other form of remedy is adequate. It is contempt of court to not comply and the applicant has a duty of full and frank disclosure.

5. The American Cyanamid guidelines view the granting of injunctions as a ‘serious question’ in issue. The adequacy of damages, balance of convenience and special factors (e.g. the undertakings) must be considered.

6. Interim injunctions are more common in pharma cases and final injunctions are standard. When granting an injunction the Court may look at whether the alleged infringer acted to ‘clear the way’ of infringed patents (SmithKline Beecahm v Apotex [2002]). However in Cepahlon & Ors v Orchid & Anor [2010] failure to clear the way did not lead to an injunction being granted. Merck v Teva [2012] and Novartis v Hospira [2013] though seem to show a hardening of approach towards infringers. See Bird & Bird’s comments on Cepahlon & Ors v Orchid & Anor [2010] here.

7. In other EU countries:

In Germany different courts have different approaches. The Dusseldorf court is seen as a friendly court for interim injunctions in pharma cases. The focus is more on the merits of the case rather than economic arguments. It may grant ex-parte interim injunctions. The bifurcated system often results in injunctions before the outcome of the validity action.

In France an injunction will be granted based on the likelihood of patent infringement.

In Austria injunctions are common and this is considered a pro-patentee system.

8. The Unified Patent Court raises new issues. A pan-European injunction will be possible and forum shopping will probably happen when asking for injunctions.

You may also wish to see related articles 10 Points on What Patent Judgments Achieve and 10 Points on Open Innovation.

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